Catalog Doctor: Intense, Competitor Analysis
Patient: Doc, I feel like my competitors are growing, but my business remains flat. Do you have any suggestions?
Catalog Doctor: Studying your competitors is a great way to get ideas on how to reinvigorate your catalog program, regain market share and revitalize your customer base.
Patient: Can you prescribe something for me, Doc?
Catalog Doctor: Here are 10 easy tips for doing a competitor analysis to help you find your rivals’ strengths and weaknesses, and zero in on your best paths for growth.
ONE: Set Specific Goals
If you set concrete goals, you get concrete results from your competitor analysis. And you’ll avoid the risk of investing time and effort in a study that just gets filed away and forgotten.
A proven goal: Launch five new catalog initiatives.Think of the advance if every year you added just five improvements to your catalog/Web program. Solid goals help you get there.
Warning: Make them action-oriented. Avoid goals like, “Come up with five new ideas.” Ideas tend to get loved, filed and forgotten. (In No. 9, the Doctor looks at specific initiatives you might launch.)
TWO: Identify Your Competitors
Your competitors usually fall into three tiers:
Tier 1 — Direct competitors. If you sell fruitcake, your direct competitors are other catalogers that sell fruitcake. You’ll probably have three to six direct competitors. These are the key players to examine — the ones to study in-depth. Candy or gourmet meat catalogers aren’t your direct competitors. When you gather the quantitative data (see pg. SIX), put them on your spreadsheet.
Tier 2 — Related competitors. If you sell fruitcake, related competitors are other catalogers that sell food by mail, especially baked goods and other desserts. If your research staff is small and overworked, pick a handful of Tier 2 competitors to include on your spreadsheet. If your staff has time, include them all.